What will be the wheeled amphibious air defense missile system “Tor”?

Serial “Tor-M2” on a tracked chassis. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation / mil.ru

To date, the armed forces of Russia and other countries have received and mastered several hundred anti-aircraft missile systems of various modifications of the “Tor” family. In the foreseeable future, another version of such an air defense system is expected to appear, which has characteristic differences. Reportedly, this time it is about increasing mobility and mobility.

Prospects for “Torah”

The June issue of the National Defense magazine published an interview with the commander of the air defense forces of the ground forces, Lieutenant General Alexander Leonov. The general spoke about recent events and revealed some plans for the near future. In particular, they touched upon the development and supply of new samples from the already known families.

A. Leonov said that there are contracts for the supply of serial air defense systems “Tor-M2”, and their implementation will continue until 2027. There are also plans to equip the Arctic air defense units with specialized complexes “Tor-M2DT”. The development of new modifications of the complex also continues.

The new version of the Tor-M2 air defense system will be made on a special wheeled chassis. The main requirement for such a combat vehicle is the ability to overcome water obstacles by swimming. Other details of the project have not yet been provided.

Mastered chassis

The key element of the “Tor” line of air defense systems is the so-called. anti-aircraft missile module – a turret with a launcher, supplemented with other equipment. Such products can be mounted on different chassis, which has been repeatedly confirmed in practice. By now, a potential customer has the opportunity to choose an air defense system on the most interesting platform for him. Some of the proposed options have reached the series.

Wheeled “Tor-M2K” of the Belarusian army. Photo Sb.by

The first modifications of the Torah were based on the GM-355 tracked chassis. Later it was replaced by the newer GM-5955. As part of the development of the 9K331 Tor-M1 project, wheeled versions of the air defense system were proposed. Thus, the Tor-M1TA version was built on the basis of a truck with a semitrailer, and the M1B modification was completely housed on trailers. A stationary version of the complex has been developed.

The later project “Tor-M2” also provided for the use of several chassis of different types. Basic and export (“M2E”) options were based on tracked chassis. The Tor-M2K complex was proposed on the MZKT-6922 three-axle chassis from the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant. Finally, an air defense missile system based on a two-link tracked chassis DT-30 – “Tor-M2DT” was developed and put into production.

Now the emergence of a new modification “Tor-M2” on a wheeled chassis is expected. So far, very little is known about it – in fact, only the type of chassis and its capabilities.

New platform

Although the model of a promising chassis for the next modification of the “Thor” has not yet been named, you can consider the available options and make some predictions. The available information also allows us to predict the possible areas of application and advantages of the new air defense system over the existing ones.

Tor-M2DT on an articulated chassis. Photo by AP RF / kremlin.ru

The “Thor” family already has a wheeled combat vehicle, but it does not fully meet the new requirements of the air defense forces. The MZKT-6922 chassis for the Tor-M2K complex is distinguished by its rather large dimensions and weight, but it shows the necessary characteristics of mobility on land. Due to its large mass, this platform can overcome water obstacles only along fords of limited depth. Swimming is not possible.

Thus, for a new project, a certain promising chassis is required, which is different from the one already used. At the same time, the choice is not too large: wheeled platforms with the necessary carrying capacity for our army are supplied by only two enterprises, the Minsk MZKT and the Bryansk BAZ. The latter has already been involved in the work on the “Torah”.

At the “Army-2019” exhibition, the Izhevsk Electromechanical Plant “Kupol” showed a full-size model of a promising air defense system of the “Tor” line on a completely new chassis. The four-axle vehicle was designed and built by BAZ; a mock-up of the target equipment was made and installed on the “Kupol”.

The chassis example shown had a distinctive flat-panel exterior. The car is built according to the rear-engined scheme with the organization of all-wheel drive of all eight wheels. The frontal part of the hull is allocated for a cabin with developed glazing, and the central compartment is given for the installation of target equipment, incl. anti-aircraft missile module.

What will be the wheeled amphibious air defense missile system

A prototype “Torah” on a new chassis BAZ, 2019 Photo by Missiles.ru

The new development is a variant of the development of the Tor-M2 air defense missile system and has the appropriate combat qualities. The module is equipped with all the necessary radar equipment and carries 16 missiles in the TPK. The ability to fire on the move and the increased characteristics provided by modern missiles must be retained.

At that time, it was about testing a prototype and working out various features of the project. Based on the results of such events, it was planned to determine the final appearance of the complex, and in the future it could get a chance to get into the army.

It was argued that the construction of “Torah” on the chassis of the BAZ has a number of advantages. First of all, this is the absence of the need for imported MZKT and support for its own production. In addition, BAZ and Kupol are part of the VKO Almaz-Antey concern, which should simplify the organization of work. Also, the new project is another step in restoring BAZ’s competencies in the development and construction of special chassis.

New opportunities

It is quite possible that last year’s mock-up was built precisely on a promising floating chassis and is most directly related to the project recently mentioned by the commander of the military air defense. If so, then a real sample of the floating “Thor” may appear in the very near future, and then its serial production will begin. However, the timing of these stages of the project remains unknown.

Wheeled “Tor-M2” in the deployed state. Photo by IEMZ “Kupol”

It is obvious that the appearance of an air defense system on a floating platform will give noticeable advantages. The existing mass modifications of the “Thor” are not ideal in terms of overall mobility and mobility on the battlefield. The promising development of the Kupol and BAZ, most likely, will combine the best qualities of the existing equipment and supplement them with new capabilities.

The troops will receive a relatively simple vehicle with high mobility and mobility, and for the first time in the family, capable of independently overcoming deep water obstacles. She will be able to constantly accompany motorized rifle and other units equipped with light amphibious armored vehicles. Armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles on the crossings will not be left without air defense.

The new version of the “Torah” may have good commercial prospects. The previous wheel modification attracted the attention of potential customers and was even supplied to third countries. Due to the obvious advantages, the floating air defense system is able to repeat such successes.

Universal SAM

The existing contracts provide for the delivery of the Tor-M2 air defense system until 2027. There is enough time to complete the development and launch of the production of the floating complex, although the exact time is unknown. The questions of production volumes, rates of implementation, etc. also remain unanswered. It is unclear exactly how the simultaneous service of the complexes on different chassis will be organized, and whether it is planned to replace the old tracked vehicles.

However, it is clear that the work continues and will soon yield results. In addition, once again the chosen approach to the development of the project by changing platforms shows its best side. Thanks to this, “Torah” at different bases will be able to work equally effectively both on land or on rivers, and in the snows of the Arctic.

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